Wednesday 23rd of January 2019

replace abbott with turnbull and the cartoon still works...


While this budget does contain some evidence of forward thinking: there is a plan for building things, and for aged care – a disgracefully neglected area of public policy – and for income tax reform if you buy propositions on the never-never – at its core it’s more of the same.

For the Coalition, budgets – apart from the first atrocity in 2014, which was genuinely ideological, a wolf in wolf’s clothing – have all been about surviving until the next one. 

Frankly, it’s been hard to keep up with the shapeshifting. 2015 was a muddle. 2016 was a springboard for an election. 2017 was a Labor-style outing intent on cleaning up the missteps of 2016.

There’s no need to overthink the latest offering. 2018 has a simple objective and it’s this: political survival against the odds.

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no banana in this budget...

One of Australia's best-known highway stops is reconsidering its future following the announcement of a highway bypass.

The Federal Government has allocated $970 million in the 2018 budget to redirect the Pacific Highway around the city of Coffs Harbour.

It will leave the Big Banana about 1 kilometre away from holiday makers and tourists using the main highway.

General manager Michael Lockman said his team had already been preparing for the day the traffic disappeared.


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Meanwhile at the ABC:

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie said freezing the indexation amounted to cutting the broadcaster.

She said the $84 million cut would be compounded by a decision to cut $43 million in funding for news and current affairs.

Ms Guthrie said the organisation has faced $254 million in cuts since 2014.

"I am very disappointed and concerned that after the measures we have introduced in recent years to deliver better and more efficient services, the Government has now seen fit to deliver what amounts to a further substantial budget cut," Ms Guthrie said in a statement distributed to the organisation's staff.

She said the decision would make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations.


Read more:$84-million-hit-bottom-line/9740690

the soup nazis...

WHO ELSE REMEMBERS the "No soup for you!" episode of Seinfeld?

Not to make light of a deeply serious situation, but this refrain has been running through my head over recent days, modulated into “No democracy for you!”

In the Seinfeld episode, a soup stand opens up, run by an aggressive man who is intent on policing his customers’ behaviour and denying them his famous soup if they breach the rules. Of course, as a private businessman under a capitalist system, it’s his right to do so. But when that attitude is brought to our democracy, we have real problems.

This month, both the Australian Federal Government and High Court told the vast majority of Australians "no democracy for you". The immediate results of this, in terms of increased inequality and exclusion, will be horrible for many. The long-term results – in terms of broad disenfranchisement leading to ever deeper anger while ecosystems collapse around us – could be disastrous.

Let’s look at the 2018 Budget first.

In the face of strong and widespread support for increasing the rate of Newstart, the Government has chosen to keep it at a level which locks people into poverty traps. In a Budget which continues the emphasis on tax cuts for big business and introduces new tax cuts for wealthy Australians earning up to $200,000 a year, there is no doubt here who our democracy is working for.

Similarly, the Budget expands the debacle of robo-debt”, clawing money back from the most vulnerable people while doing nothing to close tax schemes which benefit the richest in our society. Regardless of popular will and expert advice, our democracy is working for the rich minority against the poor.


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